More than 80 growers attended the recent round of breakfast meeting at Waikerie, Barmera, Renmark and Loxton.
Growers and winery staff, who attended the meetings, were invited to provide feedback about their experiences of the 2014 vintage and to consider a number of forward looking projects and the Strategic Plan being developed by Riverland Wine, to be published at the end of June.
The results were very encouraging. Ignoring the unsustainable prices members were asked to gauge the vintage in terms of yield and quality on a scale of one to 10. Eighty two per cent indicated they were pleased with the outcome with 36 per cent rating the vintage as ‘8’ out of 10.
When asked a similar question, ignoring prices, but taking into account disease pressures, frost, hail, bushfires, a very windy spring season and fruit fly issues, 66 per cent indicated they were pleased with their outcomes with 28 per cent rating the season as ‘8’ out of 10.
Taking into consideration the prices paid for grapes 73 per cent indicated they expect to be able to meet all of their operating costs and of that number 67 per cent expect to be able to meet all of their overhead costs as well. In the (financial) circumstances these were unexpectedly positive sentiments. Of those who attended 28 per cent are confident they will accrue part of their surplus to meet future upgrades, expansion and other maintenance costs. Nineteen growers have requested some initial assistance to join the Know Your Numbers program that has been substantially improved over the past 12 months.
Riverland Wine promoted an industry outlook event to be presented by Wine Grape Council of SA (WGCSA) at Adelaide Oval on June 27. So far 39 Riverlanders have indicated they will be interested to attend the event subject to more details of the day’s program. Seventeen Riverland growers indicated they will travel by charter bus if such a service is offered. Riverland Wine is currently investigating the feasibility of hiring a bus so keep your eye on this column for further details.
Riverland Wine members have been invited to have their say in helping to construct a five-year Strategic Plan. Those at the breakfast meetings received a progress report summarising the five core themes of the plan – sustainability, RD & E, competitiveness, growing the market and leadership. Ninety eight per cent of all responses agreed that the plan is heading in the right direction.
A further 98 per cent support a Riverland Wine proposal to work with the Phylloxera Board to undertake a stocktake of Riverland vineyards and at the same time to compile an accurate estimate of the region’s stockpiles of unwanted CCA posts and poly tubing.
Twenty eight members have requested the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the SARMS3IP regional support officers. Riverland Wine will work with Kym Walton and his RSOs to ensure this happens well in advance of Round Two.
Unsurprisingly 58 per cent indicated they do not know enough about the State Government’s plans for the redevelopment of the Loxton Research Centres so quite clearly there is more work to be done in this regard.
Nine members have made suggestions or comments about key issues or ideas. Riverland Wine will follow-up with the individuals concerned. All in all, although times continue to be difficult, the general tone of the meetings was quite positive.